NASCAR: Dash4Cash an interesting subplot for today’s Nationwide race

Leave a comment

For four NASCAR Nationwide Series regulars, today’s Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, check local listings) will be an opportunity to score a good chunk of change.

Nationwide Series points leader Regan Smith (pictured), veteran Jeremy Clements, and rookies Ryan Sieg and Ryan Reed are up for a $100,000 bonus prize as part of the “Dash4Cash” promotion from series sponsor Nationwide Insurance.

The D4C will take place over the next four events, starting with today’s race and then Chicagoland (July 19), Indianapolis (July 26), and Iowa (Aug. 2).

Smith, Clements, Sieg and Reed all qualified for this first round of the D4C by virtue of their results last weekend at Daytona. Smith finished second in a narrow loss to Kasey Kahne, followed by Sieg in third and Reed in fourth, then Clements in eighth.

The highest finisher of this foursome wins the New Hampshire bonus and automatically qualifies for the next D4C round at Chicagoland.

Additionally, the three highest-finishing NNS regulars not already qualified will also get to race for the Chicagoland bonus. Indianapolis and Iowa will work the same way.

Finally, should one driver win the first three D4C bonuses and then win the Iowa race outright, Nationwide will throw in an additional $600,000 prize – bringing the payout for that driver to a even $1 million.

For today’s race at New Hampshire, Smith and Reed will start 12th and 13th respectively. Sieg is a bit farther back at 20th on the grid, while Clements has the worst starting position of the D4C group at 30th.

Smith and Clements just about have the same finishing average in three NNS starts apiece at New Hampshire (Smith is at 19.3, while Clements is at 19.6), while Sieg and Reed are facing New Hampshire for the first time as NNS competitors.

Simon Pagenaud has words with Gabby Chaves after Honda Indy GP of Alabama

Photos: IndyCar
Leave a comment

The rain didn’t stop following the conclusion of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, and neither did the jousting between drivers.

An angry Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud confronted Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves after the race, complaining that Chaves would not let Pagenaud get past him in the closing laps.

Instead of ending up with a hoped-for Top 5, Pagenaud wound up with a ninth-place finish. Chaves, meanwhile, finished 17th, two laps down.

The confrontation turned into a battle of words and profanity between the two drivers, as captured on Twitter by AutoWeek’s Matt Weaver.

Afterward – and after their tempers cooled down somewhat – both Pagenaud and Chaves gave their sides of the confrontation to NBCSN.

Gabby Chaves

First, here’s Pagenaud’s take on things:

“We had a really good race going,” Pagenaud said. “I think we potentially could have been top 5. I was really frustrated with Gabby. He was two laps down and I was stuck behind him, which gave an opportunity to (Scott) Dixon as I was trying to do everything I could to make it happen.

“It’s a real shame because when it’s not your day, it’s not your day. You’ll have better days later, but you want to have everybody on your side when you have a good day. At the moment, he doesn’t have me on his side, let me tell you. It’s a real shame.”

When asked what exactly he said to Chaves, Pagenaud demurred.

“Driver’s stuff,” he said with a slight smile. “We’ve all been there. I’ve been in his position. My side, I played it smart. It is what it is.

“I can’t comment for him. You can ask him the question. I’m not going to make a deal about it, it’s just a shame it ruined my race. We’ll come back stronger. It’s Indy soon, so that’ll put a smile on my face.”

NBCSN then caught up with Chaves for his side of the story.

 

“It’s a tough situation, we had to restart (the rain-delayed race) a lap down,” Chaves said. “Our whole strategy depends on trying to get a yellow and holding our position. Some guys think that the track belongs only to them, they’re the only guys on-track.

“Everyone else who was faster at that point – we were only one lap down to the leader, so we’re still on our strategy and don’t know what’s going to happen – as soon as they got right up next to me on the lead lap, I let them go.

“Simon was the only one who couldn’t drive up to me. I understand his frustration, but he’s the one who has to save fuel to make his strategy work, that’s not our fault, right?”

Follow @JerryBonkowski